While the Buffalo Sabres are still awaiting a more in-depth diagnosis for Jack Eichel, the early prognosis is that they young star will miss a minimum of four to six weeks with a high ankle sprain, according to TSN insider Bob McKenzie. As reported earlier, Eichel left practice this morning after suffering an injury, and the first impression was that it was a high ankle sprain. After a closer look, the injury was confirmed as such.
The diagnosis could be good or bad for the Sabres. A minor sprain is nothing compared to a break or Achilles injury, and Eichel could be back on the ice within a month. However, the same injury has been known to linger if it severe. Sidney Crosby missed over seven weeks with a high ankle sprain in 2008, and Eichel’s own teammate, goalie Robin Lehner, was out a full three months with a high ankle sprain last year.
Eichel’s injury is obviously a devastating blow for Buffalo, as big things were expected from the sophomore center, and multi-month injury and potentially lingering effects could derail his entire season. Youngsters Sam Reinhart, Zemgus Girgensons, and Johan Larsson will have to step up in his stead, and offensive leaders Ryan O’Reilly and the newly-acquired Kyle Okposo will have to carry the weight of the scoring until Eichel is back. The Sabres were never likely playoff-contenders this season, but any long-term absence for Eichel will surely shut the door on that possibility in 2016-17.